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Trump's H-1B Policy Trumped by Court


On March 10, 2020, U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer rejected Trump administration immigration policies with a new ruling in the case of ITServe Alliance v. L. Francis Cissna. The ruling invalidated memos and policies from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that resulted in increased H-1B denial rates and harsher treatment for information technology (IT) services companies that employ computer professionals from abroad.

Judge Collyer’s ruling will likely have a substantial impact on how USCIS adjudicates H-1B cases for tech companies. Under her ruling, the Trump administration cannot use the memos that caused the denial rate for H-1B petitions to skyrocket from 2% in FY 2015 to over 30% among IT services companies. This figure comes from an analysis conducted by the National Foundation for American Policy.

Major Aspects of the New Ruling

In 2018, USCIS started denying H-1B petitions if an employer contractor stated they would place the IT worker at a third-party (customer) site to perform work. USCIS would justify the denial by claiming the contractor doesn’t satisfy the definition of an employer.

In her opinion, Judge Collyer said, “The current USCIS interpretation of the employer-employee relationship requirement is inconsistent with its regulation, was announced and applied without rulemaking, and cannot be enforced.”

Under Collyer’s ruling, an employer can now hire, pay, fire, or otherwise control the H-1B professional and the arrangement will be considered a valid employer-employee relationship.

For IT companies, the ruling is significant because it will restore predictability when petitioning for H-1B visas and can even save hundreds of millions of dollars on repeated filings.

Speaking about how Judge Collyer’s ruling can aid employers in the tech sector, Amar Varada, President of ITServe National, said, “A decision like this has been long overdue, we finally have the judicial system agreeing with the employers that USCIS has been out of bounds for a long time.”

Do you have more questions about how this ruling will impact H-1B visa petitions? If so, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (888) 867-5191 to request your case evaluation with an experienced immigration lawyer at our firm.